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[Eddie Android] cannot connect to network, all nodes blocked! (how to bypass censorship?)

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Hi

I have access to a Wifi network in my local community which is blocking Eddie on Android (latest beta version). Absolutely NO connections are established, or, if they do, they are dropped within a few seconds. I've tried every OpenVPN port, different auth modes, Wireguard...Absolutely nothing seems to stick meaning the cellular network must be used instead.

My questions are:

1: How are they blocking the VPN so successfully? No matter what mix of configs are tried the VPN tunnel cannot be established - it's either dropped or so slow it doesn't work (and eventually drops anyway!)

2: What can AirVPN do to circumvent this level of censorship? Frankly, AirVPN should attempt to do absolutely everything possible to counter censorship - on Eddie desktop there is the option to route through 4 different IPs, and use SSL/SSH which I have found to be most useful for those pesky networks that seem to loathe VPN users.

Ideally Eddie-Android would have the most sophisticated censorship detection/circumvention but perhaps this is a limitation of the OS? For example is it possible to add the SSL/SSH options to the Android app?

Thanks for any suggestions!

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On 11/4/2022 at 12:04 PM, airvpnforumuser said:

AirVPN should attempt to do absolutely everything possible to counter censorship


If only it was AirVPN's primary goal. Which it isn't. :)
 
On 11/4/2022 at 12:04 PM, airvpnforumuser said:

For example is it possible to add the SSL/SSH options to the Android app?


It could, in theory, if the respective binaries are shipped with Eddie. Needs some work, I believe.

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On 11/4/2022 at 12:04 PM, airvpnforumuser said:

2: What can AirVPN do to circumvent this level of censorship? Frankly, AirVPN should attempt to do absolutely everything possible to counter censorship - on Eddie desktop there is the option to route through 4 different IPs, and use SSL/SSH which I have found to be most useful for those pesky networks that seem to loathe VPN users.

Ideally Eddie-Android would have the most sophisticated censorship detection/circumvention but perhaps this is a limitation of the OS? For example is it possible to add the SSL/SSH options to the Android app?

Thanks for any suggestions!

 
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if only it was AirVPN's primary goal. Which it isn't. :)



Hello!

Our commitment against censorship is enshrined in our mission statement https://airvpn.org/mission.  All the aims enshrined in the mission statement have the same dignity, and each one is limited only by the staff technical abilities and, as far as it pertains to the support to other organizations or individuals, by economic readiness (funds availability).
 
Quote

AirVPN team will work at the best of its abilities to:
[...]
Circumvent censorship and any other barrier to seek, receive and impart information and ideas without interference and regardless of frontiers (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, art. 19; ECHR art. 10)


Currently we especially rely on Tor nodes and obfuscated bridges, even (but not only) by supporting organizations and individuals who are very active in setting up obfuscated bridges (sometimes ephemeral for the usual cat and mouse game caused by bridge hunting, address blocks etc.). List of addresses, not even of Tor bridges set up by AirVPN staff members, will not be advertised in this forum because their block would be trivially sped up (hello censors!). Tor and obfuscated bridges are not strictly necessary in China, where you can currently bypass the block with OpenVPN in tls-crypt or over TLS (only to some specific ports), but they have become necessary in Iran, according to the latest reports we have received. OpenVPN over SSL and over SSH are ineffective in Iran, at the moment.

We have found that tls-crypt (the default connection mode by Eddie Android edition for example, with auto-switch to TCP when UDP fails) is just as effective as OpenVPN over TLS to bypass blocks, and when tls-crypt doesn't work, usually even OpenVPN over TLS doesn't work (remember that for special cases, it's easier for the lunatic censors to just block ranges of IP addresses instead of trying to detect specific fingerprints). Therefore implementing OpenVPN over SSL/TLS in Android doesn't seem an effective idea.  It remains to be seen whether implementing OpenVPN over SSH would be useful, but then again Orbot with obsf4 bridges is easy to configure and in most cases more effective than OpenVPN over SSH to bypass blocks: Tor bridges offer a flexibility in IP addresses which is unthinkable with a consumers' VPN service, where we are slowed down by contractual agreements, by the risk to have all the servers in a datacenter suspended for an alleged infringement in one of them, by the transparency of the IP addresses which must be readily available to all customers (and therefore to all censors) and so on and so forth. Therefore, providing and financing tools and machines to bypass censorship outside the VPN infrastructure is usually more effective.
 
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Kazakh's govs, for example, been buying israeli systems for blocking like in China. Or for surveillance of citizens.


We have no reports from Kazakhstan, unfortunately. You might test Tor obsf bridges, maybe there's a chance they can bypass the block. Please feel free to give us information, if you live there, preferably in private (if necessary, gpg for easy mail encryption is available for info@airvpn.org ).

Kind regards
 

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I have been able to test other providers, and the "Stealth" protocol offered by ProtonVPN does seem to work on this particular network. I appreciate it's not always ideal to talk about competitors, but hopefully all providers have the same shared goal - their code is also open source so perhaps it's worth trying to understand what they are doing and see if AirVPN can implement it also, unless it's an IP-address related ban, in which case there's not much to be done.

But more features on Eddie-Android is required for censorship circumvention, ProtonVPN does try to do this intelligently by detecting any blocks etc, it would be excellent for Eddie to do the same and ensure no matter how hostile a network may be, a way through the 'firewall' can be found (within the technical limitations of course)

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